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Bob Kerrey in line to head MPAA

Org not commenting on ex-Nebraska senator's candidacy

Former Nebraska senator and governor Bob Kerrey is the choice of the major Hollywood studios to be the next head of the Motion Picture Association of America, a source said Friday.

Kerrey, however, has not yet formally accepted the offer or negotiated a deal. It appears the job is his if he wants it. The choice of Kerrey was first reported online by TheWrap.

An MPAA spokesman declined comment Friday morning, saying the search committee had been working independently of the organization's staff, and no one there had been made aware a choice had been made.

If he takes the job Kerry would replace Bob Pisano, who has been acting as interim President since Dan Glickman left in March. Pisano was seen as a candidate for the job himself, but recently denied he was interested in continuing in the position.

A search committee that included Michael Lynton of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Bob Iger of Disney has been working with an executive recruiter to find a new President for the trade association which represents major Hollywood movie and TV distributors. There had been much debate over whether to seek a Republican or a Democrat for the job, but Kerry clearly is a lifelong liberal Democrat.

Kerrey represented Nebraska in the U.S. Senate from 1989 until 2001, after serving as Governor. He was an unsuccessful candidate for President in 1992. Since leaving the Senate he has been President of The New School, a university in New York City.

His term as President of The New School has been filled with controversy. He has gone through a series of Provosts, protests, sit in's and even a vote of no confidence by the school's faculty in 2008. In May 2009, Kerrey announced that he would resign from his post at the university when his contract expired July 1, 2011.

Kerrey is a native of Lincoln, Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska, graduating with a degree in pharmacy.

Kerrey served in the U.S. Navy during the war in Vietnam. He received the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in a battle where even after he was gravely injured he continued to perform.

In 2001, the New York Times Magazine and "60 Minutes" reported that Kerrey was involved in a massacre in February 1969 when a swift boat team he led killed women and children in the village of Thanh Phong. Kerrey said that while he did not personally kill those people, he regretted the actions and felt guilt over it. "I thought dying for your country was the worst thing that could happen to you," Kerrey was quoted as saying, "and I don't think it is. I think killing for your country can be a lot worse."

Kerrey has had some associations with Hollywood in the past. While Governor, he dated actress Debra Winger while she was in Lincoln, Nebraska for the making of the Oscar winning 1983 movie "Terms Of Endearment." The relationship drew intense media attention at the time and Kerry famously responded to a reporter, "What can I say - she swept me off my foot." That referred to the loss of the lower part of one of his legs as a result of injuries in Vietnam during the battle for which he was later given the Medal of Honor.

Kerrey is currently married to Sarah Paley. They have a son, Henry, who was born one day before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He also has two children from a previous marriage, Ben and Lindsey.

Kerrey is believed to be the model for the character of Senator Charles Martin in the book "Primary Colors." He has many close political relationships, including Senator James H. Webb, who he encouraged to run and helped raise funds for when he was elected in 2006. More recently Kerrey was a strong supporter of former comedian and now Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.). He also considered a run for Mayor of New York at one point but then said he would not run.

Kerrey was a supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton when she ran for President. He later expressed support for President Obama, but did it in a way that drew some criticism for mentioning that there were Muslim members of his family, which was seen at the time as a backhand slap. President Obama is said to have forgiven him for the comments.